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What Top Creatives Have to Say About the 4Q15 GPC

This week, the fourth-quarter Global Product Committee, comprising the top creative leaders from Leo Burnett Worldwide, is meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, to evaluate work from around the global network using the agency’s 10-point HumanKind Scale. Work that receives a 7-point rating is considered to be the benchmark for excellence in craft. (To learn more about the GPC and the HumanKind Scale, watch this video.)

Some of Leo Burnett’s top creatives have been to multiple GPCs, so we rounded up five veterans—Trevor Kennedy, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka; Anna Meneguzzo, creative director, Leo Burnett Milan; Sompat Trisadikun, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Bangkok; Shunsuke Kakinami (a k a Kaki), creative director of Beacon Innovation LAB at Leo Burnett Tokyo; and Chris Chiu, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Singapore—to ask them all manner of burning questions about this year’s gathering, the importance of meeting in different locales each quarter and, of course, the work.

Follow @TheLBGPC next week on Twitter for live, real-time updates from the GPC room.


Is your office represented by any work in the GPC this quarter? If so, can you highlight some of the pieces?
Trevor: Yes, we put in two pieces of work. One was quite workmanlike. It was for a major company in Sri Lanka and the office was pleased that we had the chance to do that. And the second piece is one that I really like, called “Shree.” We had designed a new brand for a clothing company called Cotton Collection. The idea was that it had to be something that both the locals and tourists liked. So what we did was, we looked at the Sri Lankan alphabet and in olden times, when it was first created, it had to be written on leaves, so there are no straight lines in it at all. This is a great insight. From there we created an entirely new script using only circles, and then we took the graphic of the letter, which is “Shree,” which is a sign of respect, and that became the brand name. It’s a beautiful piece of modern design.

Sompat: One of our pieces is "Pray for Anna" for the Thailand Authority of Tourism. We really put our heart and soul into the work. It's not easy to sell work like this to our client. Our team was so excited when they heard we got an 8 Ball for this work.

Why do you think it is important for the GPC to be hosted by a different city around the globe each quarter?
Trevor: It is really important that it is held in different cities. Because when you look the group from Jakarta, it really gives them the chance to experience the GPC. I don’t think people realize the detail that the delegates go into and just hearing their comments and how they analyze and talk about work is incredible, and you don’t get that at all in our office. If the GPC didn’t go to the different cities, the people wouldn’t have a chance of doing that.

Anna: Being that the GPC is so important and at the core of our network, I’m Italian, it’s like the Pope. It’s good to know that it exists, but how you feel when you can touch him and when you can meet him in person, that’s a totally different side of it. So it is tremendously important that the GPC goes and touches every single agency and involves as many people as possible in the network. It is really like the Pope.

Kaki: Great ideas are universal and without language barriers, because they are essential to human instinct. So it’s very important for Leo Burnetters to keep connecting with others from offices around the world. This makes sure Burnetters are not restricted by their local voice and insight. Leo Burnetters have to keep using our common language: HumanKind.

Which pieces of work have you seen today, or throughout the week, that have really inspired you? Which piece surprised you, made you jealous or moved you?
Trevor: Today we saw a piece of work, “Music vs. Gun Violence.” It didn’t score a straight 7, but because it is such a huge problem in Chicago, I think it is just a massive idea and we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg. What I love is it is the start of something great and you can just imagine how it is going to grow and grow, and it is a really good start. So when you see it, it is a little bit like Earth Hour, where the whole concept is so strong. The pieces of work that we saw that supported it could be better, but the actual idea and what they are trying to achieve was brilliant.

Chris: For sure on day three, the work for McDonald’s All Day Breakfast was fantastic. Contemporary, superbly executed, it definitely made me go “I wish I did that.” Overall, very worthy work for one of the network’s biggest, most visible clients.

Sompat: I like "Reward" from Melbourne, very much. It is a really great idea, great thinking and great solution. I wish I did this work.

Kaki: I am especially inspired by the “Stabilo Note,” “Reword,” “Just,” “#AnonymousGiver” and “Put The Guns Down” campaigns. They don’t stop at a one-off communication, but instead offer big ideas to change the future. In other words, they have the potential to dramatically change our future by evoking change in the present in uniquely positive and optimistic ways and through their individual brand/service essences.

What trends have you observed in the work this quarter?
Anna: I have observed, and it’s not a new trend, but the storytelling is winning as usual. But a new trend is a new way to tell stories, for instance through new storytellers, like rappers, or in a fresher way like Asia-Pacific is doing that has a true, well-crafted, very humorous storytelling. It is nothing new but it’s still a trend. It is like the ’70s, it’s never going to be outdated.

How do you go about evaluating and judging the work?
Kaki: My first criterion is “What/How does this work invoke behavioral change?” I start evaluations by looking for issues and then finding a way to combat them. I highly esteem work that has the ability to practically change people’s behavior for the better.

The second criterion is “Simple, Functional & Crafted.” We spend plenty of time, thought, passion and stress on developing each piece of work from briefing to deliverable. However, people don’t know that and don’t need to know that. They live in the flood of information every day and have little time to spare for each of the communications we’ve delivered. So day by day, it is getting more important to create work with simplicity, functionality and craft. This allows people to easily understand and be impressed by ideas in a few seconds.

My third is “Uniqueness.” And by this I mean whether the work adopts some fresh form of technology or innovation, some fresh look and feel, or some fresh functionality. Being unique allows our work survive in a flood of creative works.

In your opinion, what is Leo Burnett's creative point of difference?
Chris: What’s immediately obvious is that, at our best, the work from the network shows purpose-driven thinking and oftentimes with that, a tremendous amount of humanity.

Why is the GPC as a whole important to the Leo Burnett network?
Anna: Well, I think it is really central because it is the point of difference, among all the other networks as it is so strongly making a point on how important it is to be a creative agency. It is just resetting the framework that Leo started as creativity is our core business and we need to pay attention and pay money to state that. Otherwise, in the day-by-day, you’re going to lose that. And that is tremendously important, our point of difference.

Why is the HumanKind GPC scale an important evaluation tool? How hard is it to achieve a 7+?
Kaki: I believe in the power of HumanKind. Technology and innovations are developing every day. This means that the significance of HumanKind is growing. Technology is not about technology but about humanity. HumanKind is our creativity guideline that helps us keep the right path at this age. I have recently seen plenty merely crafted work or merely entertaining work being evaluated in awards. I don’t like this trend. Of course, I also agree with the importance of craft and entertainment, but before we seek that, we should pursue the essential functions of a piece of work and its meaning for society.

I feel that it is harder to achieve 7+ now than compared with a few years ago because 7+ works should now demand for both function and craft.

What are the top insights that you've gained from this experience that you'll be taking back to your local office?
Kaki: There are many important insights I’ve gained from this GPC. Of all the ideas, I’d especially like to bring the following back to Tokyo: “Super-simple,” “Visual-crafted or Tech-crafted,” “Positive, Optimistic or Fresh” and “Functional.” These words are important criteria, not only for generating ideas but also for delivering executions.